A Step-By-Step Guide on How to Help a Friend Who Has Had a Miscarriage

How Can I Help My Baby Sleep?

Written by One Mama Midwife

Comfort Items From Birth and The Dummy Debate

As parents we can get wrapped up in the world of sleep as well as the unrealistic expectations that are highly prevalent in society today. Establishing a safe and supportive sleep environment is essential in helping your baby to maximise their sleep and thus help you maximise your sleep!! This blog will explore how you can set up the perfect sleep environment for your baby.

What is normal baby sleep?

Babies under the age of 12 months have highly variable sleep needs. Some babies need 8 hours total sleep in 24 hours while other babies need 20 hours sleep in 24 hours. So, as you can see the sleep needs of each baby is highly variable, meaning it is important not to compare your baby to other babies. It is normal for babies and toddlers up to the age of 2 to wake frequently overnight and only a third of babies have actually slept through the night once by 12 months of age.

Newborn babies have such small tummies meaning they need to wake frequently overnight to feed but also to meet their brain and physical developmental needs that are rapidly growing during the first year after birth. Your baby isn’t waking overnight because you’ve created a bad habit – there is no such thing as a bad habit when it comes to caring for your baby.

So, now that we know what normal baby sleep is, let’s explore how we can help our little ones sleep better.

How to help your baby sleep?

Circadian Clock –
Babies aren’t born with a circadian clock which means that they aren’t able to tell the difference between night and day. A baby’s circadian clock starts to develop at around 6-8 weeks and there are some ways that you can help them to develop their body clock.

1. Open the curtains and let the light in first thing in the morning – yes, you read that right, letting natural light into the house first thing in the morning is a great way to help baby start to develop their body clock.

2. Take baby outside during the day and enjoy being stimulated by the world around them.

3. Let baby nap in the light during the day, not in a pitch black room. Letting baby nap in a pitch black room during the day can confuse their body clock. At night let your baby sleep in a dark room and try to avoid using bright lights when they wake for feeds in the night.

4. Have a Riff Raff Sleeptoy playing white noise during both day naps and night sleeps to create the familiarity and safety around sleep time. Always make sure that you do not put your Sleep Toy in the bassinet with a baby under the age of 12 months, but instead use the velcro to attach it to the outside of the bassinet or cot.

5. Have a set of bedtime rituals at least 3 out of 7 nights of the week. Contrary to popular belief, research has shown that a bedtime routine that is strict on times can actually be more harmful than helpful for your baby’s sleep. However, having a set of activities that you do before bedtime has been shown to help calm baby down for bedtime. This may include a bath, massage, book, feed and then bed – whatever works best for your family.

Sleep pressure – The second way baby sleep works is through sleep pressure, simply meaning that babies need to be tired enough for sleep. The best way to do this is to get out and about with your baby during the day and explore the world together. Let them nap in the carrier, pram and car so that they’re able to take the edge off their sleep pressure during the day and then have their longer stretches of sleep overnight.

Creating the perfect sleep environment for your baby:

1. Make sure that your baby has a safe place to sleep that follows the Red Nose Guidelines for Safe Sleep. This means there are no toys, bumpers or extra blankets in the cot or bassinet.

2. Always place your baby on their back for sleep and at the end of the bed. This means that their feet are up against the bottom of the bed and they are unable to wiggle down underneath the blankets.

3. Make sure that your baby’s cot or bassinet is in a safe place in the caregivers room for the first 6-12 months.

4. You want to try and recreate the womb, meaning that you want the white noise from your Riff Raff Sleep Toy along with making sure that baby is not too hot or too cold, that they’re securely swaddled (arms out if baby is showing signs of rolling) and that you are close by. This will give them the best chance of sleeping longer stretches overnight for you.

It is important to remember that there are no bad habits and there is no such thing as spoiling a baby. The more that you hold, cuddle and love your baby the more safe and secure they are going to feel in their attachment and thus the better they will be able to sleep. Always trust your intuition and do what feels right for you and your family.